It’s 1992 in Tbilisi, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but 14-year-old best friends Eka and Natia are unfazed by the fear and insecurity lurking around them. As civil war rages in the rest of the country, the girls are preoccupied with school gossip, learning how to smoke cigarettes, and flirting with the neighborhood boys. Their lives change when Natia receives a pistol as an unexpected love gesture, and suddenly the girls must face circumstances beyond their control. Loosely based on Ekvtimishvili’s experiences, In Bloom portrays distinctively fierce female characters who struggle to escape their turbulent families and male-dominated traditions. This year’s Georgian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar “is an intimate, deeply engaging story of friendship between women destined for different fates in a world of male-driven violence.”—Screen.